We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More Allow Cookies

TEMPO-I (Technology Enhanced Music Performance, Open-Inclusive) is an initiative by the Cork School of Music (CSM) which seeks to provide pathways to accredited inclusive music ensembles in higher education and is investigating music technology and music composition for music students with disabilities. The initial aim of this project was to bring an inclusive music programme to MTU that would involve participants from ALL walks of life - regardless of (dis)ability.  This should be done centrally in MTU and not rely on annual funding applications.

Inclusion and Access to education and the arts are enshrined in many key European and UN policy documents. A general review of inclusive programmes in Higher Education in Ireland was undertaken and it was found that most were a) generic skills i.e. not discipline specific and b) uncredited. An inclusive-classroom aspect was also rare. There seemed to be a disparity with how people with disabilities, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, were being treated in the Higher Education landscape.

As the project progressed, our aims developed as it became apparent that implementation of a credited, discipline specific, inclusive programme could be quite unique. Ultimately, through our continued action the model we create - and continue to develop after the project period has elapsed -  will be an avenue for many HE institutes to adopt.

Our work was an incredibly slow process to develop and we look forward to continuously building on these changes that are happening over a longer scale of time than 1 year. It should be noted that current collaborators have been involved in similar actions for 15 years.


How did the project work towards its aims?

Building collaborations and partnerships has been key to this project. A project partner from the disability sector was engaged immediately.

  • We ran focus groups with people with learning disabilities to begin to understand their issues surrounding learning, support, progression etc. in level 5 FET and below. 
  • MTU CSM now has representation on Arts For All (a Cork-based inclusive network of education, industry, and performance entities).
  • MTU has representation on the Inclusive National Higher Education Forum (INHEF). Through this forum we were able to gain access to some of the individuals involved in similar work and compare / contrast our varying approaches.
  • Advocates in the UK were interviewed to give an international context.

Within MTU we discovered 'pockets' of staff interested and/or involved in inclusive actions. This helped us to lay the foundation for our model. Several key senior staff of MTU were lobbied and permission was given to develop a suite of modules at differing levels that were interdependent and would have a shared teaching space. Level 8 and Level 6 (offering SPA Certificate) modules are now fully approved to run in September 2021 and we are currently negotiating an MOU with Cork ETB to have sub-level 6 QA, literacy facilitators and learners engaged in CSM.

Project Dissemination

Our dissemination is multi-faceted and aligns with the range of project partners/stakeholders – some dissemination is practical, other has a research/engagement focus:

  • 3 online workshops with persons with learning difficulties, 3 in-person workshops with persons with learing difficulties.
  • University Industry Innovation Network Conference June 2020 (UIIN2020), European Association of Service Providers for person with Disabilites Conference April 2021 (EASPD2021), CSM Research Colloquium June 2021, MTU CPEER May 2021
  • Certificate in Inclusive Music Performance, Level 8 10-credit year long Module in Inclusive Music Facilitation.

How might this project develop over the next 2-5 years?

We have a new inclusive music programme in CSM commencing September 2021. It has been fully resourced and approved centrally as sought. We will continue to review and develop the programme and there is potential to add further modules at level 7 providing a pathway through Higher Education. We will try to disseminate our findings and experience as we develop this model further.


Project Lead: Hugh McCarthy

MTU Staff: Academic ~20, Admin/other ~15.

CSM Students: Music & Technology 4th year and masters ~25, Music Therapy ~6

INHEF & other external academics/academic admin: ~25

Arts for All inclusive forum: ~ 10

Focus Groups and Trial Participants; ~15

Disability Industry Sector: ~10


Below is a short list showing the range of engagment and consultation:

    • Grainne MacHale (formerly SoundOut, Music Generation)

    • Caoimhe Conlon (Glen Community Music Project)

    • Claire Layton O’Brien (Music Generation Coordinator)

    • Eamonn Nash (Music MashUp)

    • Billy O Callaghan (Cork Academy of Music)

    • L’Adapt (French network for Disabilies and Arts)

    • Frank Lyons (Ulster University, Inclusive Creativity)

    • Lewis Smith (Ulster University, Inclusive Creativity)

    • Franziska Schroeder (Queens Belfast)

    • Kate Duffy (openupmusic.org, UK, Clarion software)

    • Barry Farrimond (barry@openupmusic.org, UK)

    • Andre Kenneally, Maire Leane (Contemporary Living, UCC)

    • Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities (TCPID)

    • Louise Foott (Arts in Health CIT)

    • Deirdre Creedon (Access Office CIT)

    • Joe Connell (Curriculum Dev CIT)

    • Xenia Pestova (Nottingham University UK)

    • Ian Gibson (Adaptive Music, Huddersfield University UK)

    • Eoin Nash (COPE, Suisha Arts, CSM)

    • Yvon Bonenfant (Resonant Tails Project, Theatre Studies, UCC)

    • Stewart Hill (Focal Software)

    • Elin Skogdal (SKUK, University of Tromso, Norway)

    • Claire Nash (Enable Ireland)

    • Edel Sullivan (CSM)

    • Pat O Connor (TUD – IT Blanchardstown, “Daughters of Charity” project - Integrated Education.)

    • Phil McSweeney (MTU Tralee, St Johns of Gods)

    • Des Aston (INHEF, Trinity)

    • Sara Beer (Development Manager - Disability Arts Cymru, Wales)

    • Kaite O’Reilly (Playwright, UK)

    • Tara Brandel (Croi Glan inclusive Dance Company)

    • Simon McKeown (Teaside University, UK)

    • Ger Canning (Adult Education Officer Cork ETB

Let's get social